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nacluth 09-05-2019 09:15 AM

S. Kinnaird Port Orford/Osage Orange SJ (Video/Final pics added!)
Steve and I are very pleased to share with you a build thread with what we believe to be a pretty fun guitar. This is going to be a 12 fret Port Orford Cedar & Osage Orange SJ for AGF regular (some may say spectacular) Jamiejoon. Jamie had some fun ideas about where to start and then has let Steve and I throw some wild ideas in the mix too. I hope you enjoy following along.

Iíll see if Steve can chime in with some raw wood pics, but since I have construction shots, letís get started.

First is a look at the rich yellow of the Osage Orange back. Round these parts most people call the wood - Bo-dark (Bois Díarc). As supposedly it was the Native American wood of choice for making hunting bows. Though actually itís even more commonly known as horse apple. The huge bright green fruit of the tree being its most recognizable outward characteristic. But if they knew what was inside...

The Osage oxidizes and darkens over time. Freshly sanded it becomes a chromium yellow. Xanthic one might say. For the last couple months I have been staining my hands and my clothes with the bright yellow dust. Itís really a whole new experience to work with something so yellow. The pictures canít quite capture the depth of the wood, but it is quite enchanting in person.

Jamie chose our big body shape - the SJ. Combined with the strength of the POC and the hardness of the Osage, weíre expecting a cannon of an instrument. I hope youíre ready. ;)

Hereís a silly shot to make a point. The camera tries to color correct (and probably does a much better job than my eyes), but in person, the wood looked more yellow than the map color did. Your eyes may present its own take, but one thing for sure is the wood has a depth the flat color doesnít. This guitar will be a stunner.

I hope you follow along and see where this build takes us. You wonít be disappointed.

ChuckS 09-05-2019 10:55 AM

Looks like a great set of Osage Orange. I'll be following this one.

Could you share the 'general traits' of Port Oxford Cedar? Maybe compared to spruces, cedar, etc.

joe white 09-05-2019 11:29 AM

Mmmmmmm, I loves the spicy smell of port orford. I think I have at least two port orford tops ratted away in my wood locker. This is going to be an interesting build. Thanks for sharing.

j. Kinnaird 09-05-2019 12:18 PM

Partner I like it ( to quote Mr Dean)
I will be following this one.

iim7V7IM7 09-05-2019 03:35 PM

I am following along...nice choice...:up:

Nemoman 09-05-2019 04:45 PM

Wow--this will be be fun to watch.

The birth of the Mellow Yellow...

Guitars44me 09-05-2019 05:50 PM

I am unclear whether this is a Slope Dread SJ or a Small Jumbo.

It is confusing when the initials match!

Anyway it should be BOSS

Have fun, we await more updates


Steve Kinnaird 09-05-2019 07:45 PM

1 Attachment(s)
This is our first experience with Osage Orange as a body wood, and so far it seems promising. One thing for sure, the sawyer (Zeb Turrentine) really knew how to cut the log. Just look at those medullary rays! As another plus, Zeb was accommodating to our likes and dislikes. We swapped out some sides for the ones pictured here and in the process picked up another fine set for some future use. (Anyone interested?)

So here is the set before we started work. This was pre-sanding, so a bit of the dullness is oxidation. The other part is what Ryan mentioned, the camera just doesn't believe what it's seeing.

Attachment 26749

But compare that to the sides on the bending form and you can see how surprised we are every time we step into the shop! This 'ol Bodark tree from Tennessee was amazing.


Steve Kinnaird 09-05-2019 07:58 PM


Originally Posted by ChuckS (Post 6154997)
Looks like a great set of Osage Orange. I'll be following this one.

Could you share the 'general traits' of Port Oxford Cedar? Maybe compared to spruces, cedar, etc.

Hey Chuck, I'm not able to quote from the text book, but I can give some personal impressions. Generally, generally, P.O. Cedar is heavier than the spruces. But it also runs a bit stiffer. So it can be worked thinner and indeed should be. It is a creamy color, with a very slight hint of yellow. The piece chosen for Jamie's guitar is straight-grained, with fairly tight spacing, and a slight graduation in the spacing. His set has a lively tap, more like one of the stiffer spruces, less like "cedar" (Western Red). And the fragrance......
There's nothing quite like it. It is my favorite wood aroma, even more pleasing than Brazilian rosewood. (To me.) I told Ryan I want my coffin made of this wood so I could sniff this in perpetuity. When he starts buying a truck load of this timber, I'll know my time is up.


PonchoFrancisco 09-05-2019 09:44 PM

The POC that I have smells a lot like Vapo-rub. You're right about making a coffin from it, Steve. There's a big demand in some Asian countries for coffins and altars. IIRC, it's actually a Cypress. I haven't had occasion to use any yet, so I'll be watching with great interest.


Stevied63 09-06-2019 05:57 AM

Wow, that color looks really cool! Already shaping up to be another stunner!!

Jamiejoon 09-06-2019 10:23 AM

For those of you who are wondering "Why Osage Orange?" -

1) I used to be a forester, and I love "weird" wood

2) Bob tempted me with his collection of reviews of Osage Orange as a tonewood:

3) I love the history of Osage Orange - old homesteads, native American bows, etc

4) Searching around, I found Zeb Turrentine, not only a sawyer but a classical guitar player and maker. He has a great collection of Osage Orange, and is a good guy. I was lucky to have Steve choose the right set

As many of you know, Steve and Ryan are fun to work with, and I am particularly excited about this guitar. Not just the Osage, but the Port Orford too. Port Orford Cedar (yes, it's a cypress, not a cedar) is a beautiful tree. I have a couple of them in my garden.


nootis 09-06-2019 10:52 AM

Looking forward to seeing more. I don't have specific reasons why I like Osage Orange, but ever since I saw Tim McKnight build with it, I've been an admirer.

On my Bashkin that is being built, we are using it for decorative purposes on our inlays.

Steve: I have always fashioned myself being in a plain pine box when the time comes, but perhaps P.O. would make for a nice substitute... Ryan, see if you can get a two-fer!

nacluth 09-06-2019 12:37 PM

Iíve been looking for a side gig. Maybe custom coffins are a good fit. ;)

Jamiejoon 09-06-2019 12:51 PM

Ryan, maybe if Steve stopped whipping you, he wouldn't need to worry about your intentions toward him.

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